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Are Cost and Time Constraints Hampering Sustainability Reporting Progress? 

Are Cost and Time Constraints Hampering Sustainability Reporting Progress? 
22 May 2024

Business sustainability reporting is costly, admin-heavy and too time-consuming according to the survey responses of 500 UK sustainability managers.

The survey, commissioned by FM outsourcer Mitie, questioned sustainability decision-makers on decarbonisation reporting and the barriers involved. Of 500 respondents, over half (55 per cent) agreed that sustainability reporting requires too much admin and over a third are considering outsourcing their reporting as they think is “a waste of time”.

46 per cent felt that their business spends too much time on reporting and 45 per cent thought that too much money is spent on it. 70 per cent said that the resources spent on reporting admin directly impact their ability to action their sustainability strategy which is in turn delaying decarbonisation.

Carbon and sustainability reporting within businesses is essential to increase the transparency of their progress towards net-zero goals. However, gathering and analysing the information can be daunting and time-consuming for FM and sustainability teams. Particularly when there is increased pressure from external regulatory frameworks. 

Respondents to Mitie’s survey also noted that interest from above was a key factor in reporting pressures. Over a quarter (26 per cent) now count the Board and C-suite of their organisation among the stakeholders most likely to scrutinise their sustainability data. 32 per cent felt that they could better use these resources to develop their carbon reduction plans.


Barriers to Adopting Sustainability Reporting Software


In terms of using automation or other smart technology to ease the reporting burden, 17 per cent said they rely solely on manual processes when it comes to reporting including Excel spreadsheets. The cost to invest in software was cited as the biggest barrier to its adoption.

Catherine Wheatley, Head of Data Science and Energy Services, Mitie, said: “Sustainability reporting has inadvertently become a burden for organisations. Our findings show that the time and resources dedicated to reporting are leading to a decarbonisation delay as time is spent on admin and problem solving rather than action and adding value to their organisation as intended.”

“However, despite the challenges posed, it’s encouraging to see senior stakeholders engaging with reporting, recognising its pivotal role in shaping business strategy. This helps to give sustainability leads the leverage to make a case for investment in the resources they require to support seamless reporting so they can stop stalling on sustainability and focus on the all-important action towards goals.”

Picture: a photograph of a graph showing a line veering up and down. Image Credit: Unsplash

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 22 May 2024


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